[1] Satanic Temple Unveils Statue Of Goat God 'baphomet' Outside Us Government Building
Satanic worshippers have celebrated the unveiling of a demonic statue of a goat-headed creature with wings outside a government building in the US. Members of the Satanic Temple brought the eight-and-a-half ft tall carving of Baphomet, an occult goat-man hybrid, to the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol building in Little Rock yesterday. The winged monster sits on a throne emblazoned with a pentagram. Alongside a child gazes adoringly up at the man with the goat head.

The striking statue was part of a rally outside the state's seat of government in protest at a Ten Commandments monument already installed in the grounds. It has now been taken away but the Satanic Temple have filed a lawsuit to have its reinstated in the name of religious pluralism and the First Amendment, KATV news reports. The display prompted counter-protests from Christian activists.

The Satanic Church, who have chapters across the globe that campaign for religious freedom, claim they wrote to state legislators in to ask the Baphomet statue be allowed. Speaking at the rally Lucien Greaves, spokesman and co-founder of the Satanic Temple said: “The event is intended to be an inclusive gathering where The Satanic Temple will be celebrating pluralism along with Christian and secular speakers.

[2]‘Pastafarianism' Is Not A Religion, Dutch Court Rules
The Dutch council of state has ruled that Pastafarianism is not a religion, denying a follower of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster the right to wear a colander on her head in her passport and driving licence photo. Mienke de Wilde is now considering taking her case to the European court of human rights.

The Netherlands’ highest court said de Wilde, a law student from Nijmegen, could not be exempted on religious grounds from a ban on headwear in official identity photographs, because Pastafarianism was essentially a satire and not a serious faith.

The church was founded in the US in 2005 by Bobby Henderson as a response to Christian fundamentalists advocating the teaching of creationism in schools. In an open letter, Henderson demanded equal time in science classrooms for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism. Believers worship an invisible and undetectable god called the Flying Spaghetti Monster, wear colanders on their heads in homage to their deity, revere pirates as the original Pastafarians and vow to reject “crazy nonsense”, be nice to all sentient beings and eat a lot of pasta.

De Wilde said the church was humorous but that did not mean it was not “very serious in what it stands for”. She was disappointed by the decision, which backed Nijmegen authorities’ rejection of her ID photos. “I can imagine that it all looks very odd if you don’t believe,” she told the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper. “But that’s the case with many faiths if you don’t believe in them – people who walk on water or divide themselves in two, for example. I find other religions unbelievable.”

[3]Ancient Egyptian Mummification 'recipe' Revealed
Examination of a mummy has revealed the original ancient Egyptian embalming recipe - first used to preserve bodies. A battery of forensic chemical tests carried out on a mummy that dated from 3,700-3,500 BC revealed the recipe and confirmed that it was developed far earlier and used more widely than previously thought. The Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy, is now home to the mummy in question. The findings are published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Dr Stephen Buckley, an archaeologist from the University of York, said that this mummy "literally embodies the embalming that was at the heart of Egyptian mummification for 4,000 years". Dr Buckley and his colleagues worked out the chemical "fingerprint" of every ingredient, although each element could have come from a number of sources. "Until now," he said, "we've not had a prehistoric mummy that has actually demonstrated - so perfectly through the chemistry - the origins of what would become the iconic mummification that we know all about."

So the basic recipe was: a plant oil - possibly sesame oil;  a "balsam-type" plant or root extract that may have come from bullrushes;  a plant-based gum - a natural sugar that may have been extracted from acacia;  crucially, a conifer tree resin, which was probably pine resin When mixed into the oil, that resin would have given it antibacterial properties, protecting the body from decay.
[4] Funding for Stabilizing Syria, Stresses Commitment to Defeating ISIS

The US will end funding for stabilization efforts in Syria in another sign of President Donald Trump's intent to pull out of the long-running conflict.

The State Department said Friday that it would redirect $230 million that had been intended to help rebuild Syria to other foreign priorities it declined to describe. Officials said the shortfall would be more than made up by allies' contributions of $300 million for stabilization projects in Syria, including demining and irrigation.  

The officials said the decision reflects the success of Trump's direction that US allies contribute more to Syria stabilization efforts. They said the new funding would go toward priorities the US had identified, and they pushed back against suggestions that the US decision represents a retreat from leadership or a decline in Washington's commitment to the conflict.  
"We remain committed to our efforts in Syria," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a call with reporters to announce the policy.  

Shlomo Bolts, the policy and advocacy officer for the Syrian American Council, a grassroots group that works with Syrian opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, said the announcement was a disappointment.